What does Google SSL (not provided) mean when viewing keywords?

October 11, 2013

Many analytics tools, including Google Analytics, tell you what keywords were used by the visitor to get to your site. Its amazing information for companies. You find out what customers are looking for, you get ideas for new content items to add to your site or perhaps you find out that you are completely barking up the wrong tree.

Back in 2011 Google made it so searches performed by logged in users would use SSL encryption.

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SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is technology that encrypts the information sent from your computer. When a user goes a Google search over SSL, it appears in Google Analytics and Hubspot reports like this:

ssl-googleanlytics

ssl-hubspot

In other words, it gives you no useful info. It doesn’t tell you what keywords were used to get that visitor to your site.

Well, we have bad news, Google has enabled SSL for ALL searches except paid search ads. The made the change at the end of September, so you will probably already notice that your keyword reports are already less useful.

We are monitoring the situation to see how best to deal with the situation. In the meantime, we recommend that you make sure that you have Google Webmasters running on your site. Google Webmasters gives some information about which keywords your site is targeting.

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So far, Yahoo and Bing have not followed suit.

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